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Pictures of Money / Flickr CC

The issue:

Part of the GOP case for repealing the Affordable Care Act is that it has made insurance more expensive or even unaffordable for many people.

"In some cases, insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses have become families' most significant expenses," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters last week.

The facts:
  • Millions of people have gained health insurance under the ACA. The previously uninsured are now paying premiums, but also have better access to care, less out-of-pocket costs and protection from crippling medical bills.
  • Millions of the newly insured are now on Medicaid, through the ACA's expansion of the program. These people now have access to care and are paying little to no premium or out-of-pocket costs.
  • But people who bought coverage in the individual market pre-ACA are now paying higher premiums on average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt. This is because people with pre-existing conditions can now get insurance at the same rate as everyone else, which raises premiums for healthier people.
  • Premiums on exchanges increased by about 25 percent from the year before in 2017 and are expected to rise again next year, although not as drastically. That's because some insurers are getting more sick people than they predicted, but they're also not getting the federal help they expected.
  • For some people, deductibles are higher. But plans are required to cover a comprehensive set of benefits under the ACA — many of which weren't covered previously, so people had to pay for them out of pocket.
  • Spending on each person with health coverage is growing less rapidly post-ACA than it did before the law was passed, Matthew Fiedler of the Brookings Institution points out.
Why it matters:

It's true that healthy people are paying more for coverage — but it's also true that sick people are paying less. Health policy always creates winners and losers. There is no such thing as perfect health reform, and someone is always going to pay more or less than they currently do.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record,

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.